What are Pathway Endorsements?
PrepareRI aims to increase and improve equitable learning opportunities for every student through personalization and multiple pathways. With this in mind, beginning with the graduating class of 2021, Rhode Island students will be able to earn Pathway Endorsements on their high school diploma to certify that a student has accomplished deep learning in a chosen area of interest and is prepared for employment or further education in a career path.
What are the requirements to earn a pathway endorsement?
To earn a Pathway Endorsement, students must successfully complete three components:
- academic study that includes the successful completion of three independent, connected courses;
- career and interest engagement that provides students with real world context in their chosen pathway area ; and
- application of skills demonstrated through the performance-based diploma assessment (senior project/ exhibition, portfolio, or capstone product).
In what subjects can Pathway Endorsements be earned?
Students may earn a Pathway Endorsement in one or more of the following six discipline areas:
- The Arts Pathway Endorsement
- Business and Industry Pathway Endorsement
- Humanities and World Languages Pathway Endorsement
- Public Service Pathway Endorsement
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pathway Endorsement
- Teaching Pathway Endorsement
How did Pathway Endorsements come about?
The Pathway Endorsement Council Designation is one of the three Council Designation options for students, beginning with the graduating class of 2021. As part of the revised diploma system outlined in the Rhode Island Secondary School Regulations, Council Designations serve as a means to personalize the diploma. Each Council Designation externally validates achievements of high school students, through flexible and personalized high school learning experiences, to allow public recognition of specific skills and to incentivize students to meet additional high standards beyond those needed to earn a high school diploma.
These changes came about because we believe all learning experiences should be facilitated in a way that allows students to find relevance and applicability to their own life, interests, and/or previous knowledge. Students should have opportunities for choice in how, when, and in what ways they learn and demonstrate their learning. Learning opportunities should be diverse, rigorous, and connected to the world outside the school. By ensuring that learning is relevant, students are more likely to find joy in the learning process and want to continue to learn throughout their lives. Further, by learning how to make well-informed decisions in the secondary grades, students will be more adept at advocating for themselves as adult learners and citizens.